Our top tips to meal prep like a pro
Save time and money with meal prep
You’ve likely seen photos on Instagram of the perfectly lined up food containers filled with colourful and nutritious meals for the week and wondered, how do they do it? Meal prep can save you time, money and help you eat healthier, but it can seem a bit intimidating to get started.
The good news is meal prep is not one size fits all and will look different for everyone. It could mean making a large batch of whole wheat pancakes on the weekend to enjoy for breakfast throughout the week, or packing five lunches to take to work. Not every meal you make must be planned and prepped in advance to successfully transition to meal prepping.
To help you get started, we’ve made a list of our top meal prep tips so you can prep like a pro.
Choose your approach
Meal prepping doesn’t have to mean you’re eating all of your meals from Tupperware containers. There are different strategies that can help you save time and money. Choose one (or more) that work for you and run with it.
- Batch cooking – If you like leftovers, batch cooking is for you. Make a large batch of something and enjoy it throughout the week. This works well for soups and casseroles.
- Buffet style – With this approach, you prepare all your veggies, proteins and carbs ahead of time, and then mix them throughout the week for easy meals. You can also prepare a big portion of protein (like roasting a whole chicken) and use it as the base for meals throughout the week. This approach works well with salads or throw together meals like stir fries.
- Portion your meals – portioning out your meals requires more effort up front, but it saves you precious time throughout the week when you can just grab and go. You can portion out an entire meal, or just components like veggies and hummus or your breakfast oatmeal.
- Assemble but don’t cook – If you have a big freezer, this is great way to prep meals in advance. Assemble your meal in advance in a large freezer bag and simply dump it into the slow cooker or instant pot the day of and you’re good to go!
Plan to succeed
When you start making your meal plan, ask yourself why you’re meal prepping. Is it to eat healthier, save money, save time or a combination of all three? Once you know your why and your approach, start building out a meal plan for the week. Consider how many dishes you want to prepare, what ingredients you have on hand, what you’ll need to buy at the store and make a grocery list. If planning is not your forte, we’ve developed a monthly meal plan and grocery list with a registered dietitian, so you can breeze past planning and get to cooking.
Good containers are a must
You need good, portable, food containers to keep your dish as fresh as when you just made it. We prefer glass containers with snap lids, mason jars, and freezer bags, but plastic containers can work in a pinch too. Make sure your containers are stackable so they can easily fit in your fridge and freezer.
You’ve thought about your approach, stocked up on containers and now is the time to get started! If you need some recipe inspiration, try one of our favourite prepare in advance recipes:
Remember, meal prep is supposed to save you from stress, not add to it. Take it easy and work one dish at a time. You’ll be a meal prepping pro in no time.